from July 18, 2012 State Farm newsletter:

A possum, raccoon or other critter could damage your property and threaten your health and safety if it seeks shelter in your home. Add the following projects to your fall to-do list to keep local wildlife from moving in.

  • Inspect your home’s exterior for openings animals could use as entry points. These might include vents, damaged shingles, holes in siding and gaps where different building materials meet. Large holes should be permanently repaired or covered with a chew-resistant solid material or screen, such as ½-inch hardware cloth. Fill smaller gaps or cracks with caulk, mortar, expandable foam or steel wool.
  • Install hardware cloth around decks and open foundations that sit less than two feet off the ground. Dig a trench one foot deep and eight inches wide around the perimeter. Attach screening to the deck, and then bury the screen in the trench, bending it into an “L” shape at the bottom. Backfill the trench.
  • Cover your chimney with a chimney cap.
  • Top window wells with grates or plastic covers.
  • Trim tree branches that overhang rooflines.
  • Repair or replace damaged fascia or soffit boards.
  • Repair or replace damaged windows or doors.
  • Eliminate food sources. Cover compost bins and store pet food indoors. Secure trash can lids with locks or cables.
  • Keep gutters clean and remove debris piles from your lawn. Store material such as firewood off the ground; stack to minimize openings.

Before repairing or sealing possible entries, make sure an animal hasn’t already made itself at home. Inspect chimney flues and attics for clues such as droppings. Stuff holes loosely with paper or sprinkle powder outside openings, and then return after a few days of calm weather. If the paper and powder are undisturbed, make any necessary repairs. If there are signs of activity, call a professional to have the animal safely removed.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources. While we [State Farm newsletter editor] believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under any policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information. We assume no liability in connection with the information nor the suggestions made.